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Dec 14, 2011 07:09 PM

Tagine in a dutch oven? [split from Moroccan Food in Phily thread]

Hmm, maybe that is what I need to do - learn to make it at home. I did try making a lamb tagine-type-thing in my dutch oven once. It was... alright. But practice makes perfect!
Thanks for your input.

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  1. Three words - "Paula Wolfert Cookbooks"!

    4 Replies
    1. re: bucksguy14

      Awesome, thanks bucksguy. Her books seem pretty highly regarded.

      I suppose I'm going a bit off-topic here, and it's probably discussed in her books, but...

      Do you have any thoughts to how important the cookware is? Like can I get away with using my cast iron dutch oven to make a tagine? Or is the clay pot absolutely essential?

      Edit: found this post through another Chowhound thread where Paula Wolfert offers her opinion on cookware for tagines

      1. re: humanperson

        Though she doesn't give a reason for preferring a shallow pan with parchment paper and lid. I suspect it has to do with controlling condensation. The traditional tagine lets the condensate drip down to the sides of the dish, while some DO have knobs on the underside of the lid to encourage dripping directly onto the food. And there are French braising dishes with a well in the lid for ice or cold water, which should encourage condensation (and dripping) at the center. But are any of these alternatives better than the others?

        What was unsatisfactory about your one trial in a DO? Was it really the fault of the pot, or did it have more to do with ingredients, or cooking temperature?

        1. re: paulj

          Interesting.. I have a Staub dutch oven, which has little knobs all over the lid to encourage even condensation. The opposite of the tagine's effect.

          But I suspect it could still do a decent job. The problems with my initial attempt were all my fault. It was a while ago, but the thing that sticks out in my mind is the dried prunes were basically reduced to flavorless mush. I'm guessing either I should have gotten drier prunes or I shouldn't have had them in for the entire cooking duration...
          Also I wasn't able to get the cut of lamb I wanted.. I think I ended up with chops... so yeah.. not the dutch oven's fault at all really.

          Your suggestion about the reasoning behind parchment paper is interesting, and something I could try with equipment on hand. Maybe next time.. But mainly my problems are with technique, not equipment. It just kinda came up and I was curious about opinions on it from someone who's "been around the block" so to speak

          Thanks for your reply!

          1. re: humanperson

            When I use prunes in meat stews I tend to cook them to mush, where they serve more as a sweetening agent than an identifiable ingredient. But prunes that I have on hand are, as you say, moist California ones, intended more for nibbling than stewing.